Cohen: Three Coordinators Each Have Plenty To Offer

Posted Jan 28, 2016

Andy Cohen shares his observations and thoughts as Miami’s three coordinators met with the South Florida media.

(Andy Cohen In the Morning – AC in the AM – will appear on Dolphins.com during the offseason as events warrant. You can also follow AC in the AM by Twitter at @acohenfins).

# # #

Observations and insights after Thursday’s press conference with the Dolphins three coordinators: Darren Rizzi (special teams), Clyde Christensen (offense) and Vance Joseph (defense).

• Rizzi is returning for his eighth season with the team; Christensen and Joseph were new hires by Coach Adam Gase. The general feeling you got was that all three feel fortunate to be working for Gase in particular and the Dolphins in general. There was a sense of real excitement and anticipation as each spoke. “This is as excited as I’ve been since I’ve been here,” said Rizzi.

• All three are spending these days evaluating the players on the current roster before moving on to free agency and other offseason upgrades. “You can’t miss on your own,” said Christensen. How right he is.

• Christensen seems to have the perfect mindset for the role he will have on this team. He gladly accepts the fact that Gase will be calling plays – in fact, encourages it – and understands the importance of developing a close relationship with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. “I’m here to offer support,” he says.

• Offer support for Gase, who needs a strong, experienced offensive coordinator given all the other responsibilities he will have as a head coach. Christensen clearly fits that description. “I had an awfully good job where I was,” Christensen said of his previous position with the Colts. “But this one really interested me.”

• And offer support for Tannehill who plays, what Christensen called, “a lonely position in this league.” He added: “My No. 1 responsibility is to be his ally and to provide a safe place, someone he can communicate with.”

• Christensen has worked closely with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. That should get Tannehill’s attention in a hurry, don’t you think?

• Christensen likes an aggressive offense with a strong no-huddle element. “The players want to have fun,” he said. “That’s the way I like to play.”

• Then there was Vance Joseph, finally getting a chance to be a defensive coordinator after years as an assistant. “It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

• Joseph talks about Wade Phillips and Gary Kubiak as his mentors. “Both assured me a while ago that I was ready for this job,” he said. Meanwhile, last I checked, both will be coaching in the Super Bowl.

• Let there be no confusion. The Dolphins will run a 4-3 defense under Joseph.

• His basic philosophy? Build a defense with quality pass rushers and cornerbacks and you’re well on your way. “That’s the bottom line to playing great defense in this league,” he said.

• Joseph is looking forward to working with Ndamukong Suh and implied he had some tricks up his coaching sleeve to help Suh create more favorable matchups. “He is double teamed so much,” Joseph said. “I’d like to get him in more one-on-situations.”

• Run defense is also a priority. As it should be.

• Points allowed. Third down defense. Red zone defense. Turnovers forced. Overall yardage. Those are Joseph’s five key statistical categories. Looks like he’s got everything covered.

• And then there was Rizzi, back as assistant head coach and special teams coordinator. It says plenty about Gase that he chose to bring back nine assistants from the former staff. It says that he is comfortable in his own skin and that he also recognizes the importance of having some continuity despite the coaching change.

• Rizzi deserved to be back. He is among the top special teams coaches in the league, his special teams a year ago ranked in the Top 10 in five different categories. He will serve a valuable role at Gase’s side. “In many ways,” Rizzi said, “we have the same personality traits.”

• Summing up the coaching staff, Rizzi said: “The mix that Adam has put together is filled with quality people.”

• And now those quality people must mesh as one, creating the type of stable coaching environment that is so imperative in today’s NFL. Choosing these three coordinators was an important step in what promises to be a crucial offseason for this franchise.

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by our columnists and bloggers represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.